A five-run fifth inning, an effective outing from Clayton Beeter and three shutout innings from reliever Micah Dallas resulted in a 5-1 opening day win for No. 3 Texas Tech baseball over Houston Baptist.
Beeter allowed one run in six innings and struck out six. He mixed his fastball and offspeed pitches well, often getting ahead with the heater and finishing HBU hitters off with a breaking ball.
Beeter moved into the starting rotation this season after serving as the team’s closer last year. He kept his pitch count down and didn’t wear down as the game went along.
Houston Baptist starter Kyle Gruller was equally dominant through the first four innings, punching out eight hitters and holding Texas Tech scoreless.
The first hit of the game for either side didn’t come until the third inning, when HBU’s Parker Wayne grounded a ball into left field for a two-out single. Beeter struck out the next hitter, Ryne Edmonson, to end the rally.
The Red Raiders’ first hit didn’t come until the fourth inning, when Brian Klein slapped a single the other way. Klein advanced to second base on Braxton Fulford’s walk, but Gruller got the next two hitters out, killing the rally.
In the fifth inning, Texas Tech cashed in. Dillon Carter doubled to give the Red Raiders second and third with no one out, and Cal Conley drove in the run with a groundout. Texas Tech would score four more runs in the fifth, and a Klein RBI single knocked Gruller out of the game.
Red Raider baserunners had success running on Houston Baptist, stealing three bases. In that fifth inning, the Huskies caught Carter hung up off third base but an errant throw to third by HBU catcher Matt Solomon allowed him to scamper home.
The Huskies scored their lone run in the sixth inning, manufacturing a run off a leadoff double. Dallas relieved Beeter in the seventh inning and threw three scoreless innings to close out the win.
Texas Tech had four freshman in its starting lineup, including Jace Jung, whose brother Josh was drafted No. 8 by the Texas Rangers last year after a fantastic career at Texas Tech. The younger Jung went 2-3 with an RBI, a walk and a stolen base in his debut, and he made an impressive charging play at third base.
Texas Tech didn’t score for seven of its eight innings at bat, but did enough in that fifth inning to win the game.
The Red Raiders will continue their opening series Saturday with a rematch against HBU at noon and a game against Northern Colorado at 4 p.m.